Ex-Manchester United steward accused of imam's murder denies supporting IS

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A former Manchester United steward accused of murdering an imam has told a jury he is not an IS supporter.

Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, is said to have played a key role in helping another man to bludgeon to death Jalal Uddin, 71, because they considered he was practising black magic.

The pair allegedly developed a hatred of Mr Uddin because he used a form of healing involving amulets, known as taweez, which are said to bring good fortune.

Manchester Crown Court has heard that IS disapprove of the practice and believe those who regularly engage in it should be killed.

Giving evidence, Syeedy, who had worked part-time at Old Trafford, said he did not hold any political views and was not a follower of IS.

He said: "I certainly do not sympathise with Isis. I do not support any of their ideologies or their ways and their actions.

"I think what they are doing is absolutely wrong, I don't agree with innocent people dying.

"I don't agree with what Isis are doing all around the world. "

The Rochdale-born engineering student explained he was involved in various charities to help needy people worldwide and had travelled to Syria as part of a convoy to deliver ambulances and medical aid.

He said he was also a member of a number of local youth groups and had delivered food parcels to deprived refugees in the area.

The Crown said Syeedy intentionally assisted and encouraged Mohammed Kadir, 24, to attack Mr Uddin in a children's play area in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on the evening of February 18.

Mr Uddin suffered multiple injuries to his head and face in the attack, thought to have involved a hammer, in South Street, after he visited the nearby Jalalia Mosque for evening prayers and a friend's house for a meal.

Kadir, of Chamber Road, Oldham, boarded a flight three days later from Manchester to Copenhagen in Denmark followed by a connecting flight to Istanbul.

His whereabouts are unknown although it is thought he could have travelled to Syria, the jury has previously been told.

Syeedy agreed with his barrister, Icah Peart QC, that on the evidence it appeared Kadir was responsible for the murder.

He told the jury that he did not consider him a friend but "just a guy I worked with".

He learned that Kadir had some "wacky ideologies" and colleagues at the Rochdale takeway where they worked would "take the mick".

Syeedy said: "They were saying that he supports Isis and he had weird images and videos on his Facebook page.

"He would never share his views. He would never openly say anything."

He explained he was driving the pair around Rochdale on the night of the murder after he arranged to meet up with Kadir to find out why he was not regularly attending a study circle that Syeedy had help set up.

Syeedy said: "It looked like he got his views from the internet so I thought that if he could come to the class he would get more of an idea what Islam is about. He would get a better picture of Islam, not just how Isis portray Islam."

Syeedy, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, denies murder.